I’ve been in sales for a long time. I’ve seen trends come and go and come back again. It’s always interesting to watch old ideas become new again.
Since we’re still close to the beginning of this year, I thought I’d recap a few of the top sales trends for 2021. Perhaps you have a special method of getting past gatekeepers to reach the decision makers. Or maybe the old ways aren’t working so well anymore. Either way, it’s always a good idea to look at what’s working for others and give some consideration to why that is. If the new tactic makes sense, run with it.
Here we go.
#1. Video plays a more prominent role in sales. Video is one of those marketing tactics that has been tossed about like a cork on the tide, never going away but never truly reaching its destination, either. Video ramped up in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and industry pundits believe that video will play an even bigger role for salespeople in 2021.
The use of video conferencing has helped more people understand the beauty of video. Sure, it’s a convenient way to have meetings now that so many are working from home. No need to get the car out. No need to even put on pants (but please do it anyway). Video conferencing tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and ClickMeeting have shown the world the power of video for business purposes, and people like it. Now marketers and salespeople are hopping on the video bandwagon in droves.
A high-quality, professional video is an excellent way to reach prospects, let them see what you have to offer, and help them get to know you. Statistics show that salespeople who use video connect with people at three times the rate of those who don’t. Get that camera rolling!
#2. Onsite presentations go the way of dial-up. The business world had started moving toward a work-from-home mentality and reality even before the pandemic forced the issue. With mandated shut-downs last year, many companies discovered – much to their surprise – that their employees are equally productive, if not more so, working from home. An HR study from Gartner found that 88% of companies mandated or encouraged their employees to work from home last year, while 97% of businesses have canceled work-related travel.
What does this mean for sales? It means that onsite presentations are likely to become a thing of the past. Companies will leverage online tools and video for sales presentations rather than send people across the country to present in person. Say good-bye to those work-trip-generated frequent flyer miles.
#3. Social platforms are legitimate selling tools. To get your message to prospects, you need to reach them where they live, work, and play. But how do you capture that information?
Social platforms are perfect for this. These platforms give sales organizations better avenues to understand customers and prospects, their likes and dislikes, and what they’re looking for in products and services. Social platforms also help companies manage their brand image and reputation. It’s easy to sell something to someone when you’re talking to them about a product or service from a company they already have a favorable impression of. Ads on social platforms like Facebook can be created for and targeted to specific groups of prospects, extending your reach to warmer leads.
#4. Micro-markets are not to be ignored. While you may feel that your target audiences are all tapped out, there’s a good chance that if you drill down a little further, you’ll find consumers with unmet needs. These are your micro-markets, and there’s some good revenue here if you can provide what these people are looking for. While these consumers may only make up a small sub-segment of your overall target market, it could be that these little pockets of people have enough buying power to help you make your numbers each month.
To identify viable micro-markets, you’ll have to do a little digging through your prospect database. But the payoff is often worth the time spent.
#5. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) gain ground. As automation and AI technology get more sophisticated, these technologies fling open doors previously only propped open. Consumers shop online these days not just for products and services but also for answers. Chatbot technology allows these consumers to get the information they’re searching for quickly and easily without having to talk to anyone or wait on hold. This can exponentially speed up the purchase decision. Organizations not using chatbot technology in 2021 will fall behind.
AI also brings benefits to the sales team. In any sales organization, some leads get dropped on the table for one reason or another. Lack of follow-up leads to staleness, and pretty soon, these leads are so stale that they’re cold again. AI technology can take those leads and keep them alive through consistent, regular contact until you have a chance to connect with the prospects yourself.
These are just a few of the sales trends we’re expecting to see in 2021. For my roofing business, I’m planning on ramping up my advertising on social media and putting out more video content. How are you planning to increase your sales in 2021?